Identity Theft Protection FAQ's
- Monitoring: The company will monitor your accounts for suspicious activity, the web and black market websites for your personal information, and your credit. Most will also keep an eye out for any new accounts opened in your name, be they bank accounts, TV subscriptions, utilities, or loans. Whenever they spot something suspicious, the customer is notified so they can take the necessary steps to protect themselves.
- Restoration: If your identity has been compromised in any way, quality identity theft protection companies will have expert staff on hand to guide you through the process of restoration. This could mean canceling and replacing cards, removing fraudulent charges, and freezing your credit, among other things.
- Insurance: In the event that you suffer monetary damages as a result of identity theft, a subscription typically comes with US$1 million of insurance to compensate each customer. If an attorney is needed, this can cover legal fees as well.
Synthetic identity theft is the fabrication of a new identity using partial information from an existing identity. For example, the thief might create a new “person” using a real social security number but someone else’s name and birth date. This can be difficult to track as the effects may not be evident to either party. A new credit report can be generated for the fake individual, which could lead to mix ups and negative effects on credit ratings in the long term.
Security freezes are a more extreme alternative to fraud alerts that completely lock access to a person’s credit file. Creditors cannot check the file and thus no new accounts can be opened. Security freezes should not be enacted lightly, as your current accounts–phone, utilities, landlords–might need access to them. Any changes to your information, such as moving to a new address, won’t be recorded. Make sure no one will legitimately require timely access to your credit file while the freeze is in place.